One of the reasons I love living here in this dusty, beautiful, strangely dreamy oasis is the Amazigh (Berber) tribal people who call this place home. People here are generally pretty darn happy. The culture makes time for each other and prioritizes the important things in life like family and friends. To live here means one never truly feels alone or excluded from the community. The mentally ill, the old, the young, all are valued and accepted.
In Siwa, anything can change at the drop of a hat, at any moment. Life is still very much lived in the here and now and that's utterly refreshing. The day very rarely unfolds according to plan but that doesn't stop people making them and accomplishing things surprisingly fast. Weddings, funerals, tea, chatting with an old friend you haven't seen for a few months, all seem to take priority over work deadlines and money. Of course it can be very frustrating sometimes, but when it works in your favour, well that's when the magic happens. If you need help with something in this moment, not next week or next month but right now, there is always a multitude of people who will drop everything and come to your assistance. It's a world where anything is possible, nothing is predictable and one just has to go with the flow and be flexible like a tree in the wind.
It's incredible to witness how resourceful human beings can be when they are still connected to their natural environment and the 'time is money' mentality is yet to take a firm grip on the culture. Consumerism here is still just a dream and people happily make do with the limited things they have access too. Who would have thought that with a few branches of olive wood, woven palm leaf and that little thing called 'time', one could make these gorgeous hand made swings!
For me its not just about the skill and beauty of the final product, but about something much more. Its about an era in our human history, not so long ago, when money and economy came secondary to lifestyle and people. A time when it was normal to spend a few weeks weaving leaves into baskets because with a roof over your head, loved ones around and food in your belly, who could complain. Its a reminder of when people were happy with what they had, knew how to live peacefully with the environment and the trap of wanting more, did not yet exist.